In a new audio Bible, the Holy Trinity has some familiar voices: actor Samuel L. Jackson plays God the Father, actor Blair Underwood performs the role of Jesus, and Dallas megachurch pastor Bishop T. D. Jakes renders the Holy Spirit.

The New Testament portion of Inspired By … The Bible Experience arrived in stores the first week of October. The all-black cast took on the characters of the Bible, backed with music and sound effects. The executive producers of the project—a collaboration between Inspired By Media Group and Zondervan—hope it will reach a generation less interested in opening the physical pages of the Bible.

"We wanted to create a project, a Bible experience, that would communicate to a young generation, and so we felt that we needed to create an urban product to do that," said Lou "Buster" Brown, co-founder of the Inspired By Media Group. "While it is an all-black cast, it's not a black product by any means, because when you listen to it, you don't hear color. You hear the Word of God."

The 19-CD package is expected to be followed next fall by a larger Old Testament dramatization. Both productions re-enact Today's New International Version.

Originally, project organizers planned for a cast of dozens, but the cast list increased to more than 250 as word spread and others asked to be included.

"The phone started ringing off the hook," said Brown, who produced soundtracks for The Prince of Egypt. "The project had taken on a different weight. It had become a legacy project."

Denzel Washington and his wife, Pauletta, recite Song of Solomon. Angela Bassett reads the stories of Jesus' Nativity and Resurrection.

Paul Caminiti, vice president and publisher of Bibles at Zondervan, said audio Bibles have already ...

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December 2006

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